Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 9:07 AM
If you happen to be following the day-to-day and week-to-week fortunes of the two NFL teams that play in New York (okay, New Jersey!) than you get the distinct feeling that they could be akin to two ships passing in the proverbial night:
On one hand there's the New York Jets (6-5) who have hardly been a world-beater this year and yet have everyone these days talkin' about a "run the table" approach - and why not considering the schedule ahead that includes four teams with losing marks and those New York Giants.
In fact, the Jets' five remaining games - beginning with Sunday's tilt at the Washington Redskins (4-7) - features teams with a combined 21-34 SU (straight-up) mark (or a .382 winning rate).
Okay, so it's not as if QB Mark Sanchez and mates have mastered bad teams on this 2011 card but the fact remains that J-E-T-S head coach Rex Ryan continues to spoon-feed his players and the massive New York City media that his club can beat anyone standing in NYJ's wake even though the Jets have bungled around badly lately (see three consecutive pointspread losses to New England, Denver and Buffalo) and even though the ground game mucks around 28th in NFL rankings these days.
As for the Giants, well, this second-half collapse stuff now has become almost legendary, hasn't it?
Since NYG's Super Bowl-winning season back in 2007, the G-men have become perennial flops the second half of the season and here we go again with Tom Coughlin's crew fresh off back-to-back-to-back losses versus San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Now, the Giants (6-5) must battle the unbeaten Green Bay Packers this Sunday at MetLife Stadium and isn't that gonna be a whole lot of fun with a pass rush that's produced only a handful of sacks the past four weeks and an offense that needs to give some aid to QB Eli Manning.
Isn't it a shame that Manning - who has thrown for 3,358 yards with 20 TDs so far this season - might be having his best and most consistent season in the pros and yet his O-line has been rotten lately and the ground game's been a bust since the very start of the 2011 season ... maybe oft-inured RB Ahmad Bradshaw (broken foot) can make it back for the Pack after missing the past four weeks of play.
The Giants' sked - quite opposite the Jets - features teams with a composite won/loss mark of 35-20 although playing the 11-and-oh Packers shades that figure greatly (of course). Still, it's no bargain to have to line up and play Dallas twice plus there's that Christmas Eve game against the "host" Jets.
Now, wanna hear something funny?
The Jets have outscored their opponents by a grand total of 15 points while the Giants have been outscored by 25 points and they have - as you see - identical 6-and-5 records heading into Sunday's NFL Week 13 action.
So, why does it only seem that the Jets are "playoff-bound" for a third straight year under Ryan while the Giants are headed for disaster-ville under Coughlin?
CAN TEBOW DO IT AGAIN? PLUS WHAT'S THE ODDS THAT TV VOICES COWHER AND/OR GRUDEN RETURN TO THE SIDELINES IN 2012?
There was Denver Broncos' starting QB Tim Tebow addressing the media the other day - a huge chunk of skin off his cheek and baseball cap on backwards.
Yes, the look of a somewhat battered gladiator, if you will, but the question here is can Tebow dish out more punishment than he's gonna take the rest of the year as he continues to be the #2 storyline in the National Football League - hey, the unbeaten Green Bay Packers are the numero uno storyline until further notice!
The Tebow Saga is uber-interesting considering he was pretty much rated as the Broncos' third-string quarterback by summer's end and now he's leading a team to a 6-5 mark following a rotten 1-4 start - yes, Tebow is 5-1 SU (straight-up) overall and his Broncos are 5-1 ATS (against the spread) with him as a starter but Denver RB Willis McGahee (117 yards rushing in last Sunday's 16-13 overtime win in San Diego) made a a great point the other day and that's this is no one-man team.
No doubt the betting public's far from 100 percent convinced about Tebow still - how else to explain the visiting Broncos are a two-point underdog at 2-9 Minnesota this week?
Meanwhile, let's touch on a couple of coaching "names" that have been on the sidelines for quite some time now:
One-time and long-time Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher - who was quite critical of the Dallas Cowboys' bend-but-don't-break defense in the team's 20-19 non-cover Thanksgiving Day win against 7-point pup Miami - might have seemed like he was sending out "feelers" to Dallas owner Jerry Jones but the reality is in-the-know folks believe Cowher is happy working his gig at CBS and he won't patrol an NFL sideline anytime soon.
But how about ESPN's Jon Gruden who - believe it or not - already has been out of coaching for three years and may also like to stick it out on TV. Gruden will get some mention for the soon-to-be vacant Miami Dolphins head coaching job but do you really want to know what's gonna happen?
Gruden will sit tight in the TV booth in 2012 but - should the Cleveland Browns not turn it around next year under head coach Pat Shurmur - than Gruden will take the big bucks and go back to work for old Green Bay boss Mike Holmgren. You heard it here first, folks!
NOTE: We'll dissect Sunday's NFL Week 13 games plus re-cap the College Football Conference Championship Games in the next edition of Jim Sez.